Bam! I threw the mac and cheese box on the ground.
"Mommy, I want to see the noodles!" my four-year-old was saying over and over again.
After sitting in a plastic chair for 2 hours and watching elementary school graduation in 90 degree weather, followed by 3 hours at the local park for an end of the year party, I was d-o-n-e.
I just wanted to make dinner in peace, feed my children, and get my butt in bed. My daughter, of course, had other plans. She wanted to help in the kitchen. She was curious if I was making her favorite noodles with the white sauce of the yucky yellow ones.
Of course, I intellectually knew that she just needed some attention and redirection. In that moment though, my anger came out as I threw the box on the ground and began to stomp away.
As my daughter started to cry, I remembered that I now had a choice. I didn't have to continue the power struggle. I didn't have to entrain my anger.
I got down on the ground and knelt in to give her a big old hug.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I am feeling tired and angry.
I love you."
My daughter squeezed her little arms around my neck.
The whole thing was over. The anger passed. The crying stopped.
Want to stop a meltdown with your child? Offer a HUG. It isn't going to work 100% of the time, but it will work 90% (or more).
And no, the hug doesn't reinforce the negative behavior. You don't have to punish your kid to make them learn. In the words of Jane Nelson, "connect before you correct!"
Happy Parenting Y'all,